A look at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal

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After an absence of three years, the Turkish Airlines Open returned to the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course in Belek, which organized the tournament for the first time in 2013. This year will haunt many big names from a first prize of $ 2 million, from a pot of $ 7 million.

When Colin Montgomerie started designing the Montgomerie Maxx Royal on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, he hoped that it would become a highly respected job and strengthen golf in the region.

From the moment it was opened in 2008, its design was immediately recognized by many professionals as one of the best in the country. It only took five years before it opened its first major event, the Turkish Airlines Open, in the European Tour. It attracted Tiger Woods in its first year, when it famously shot a 63 (9-under-par) in the second round.

In the two following years, big names came to Turkey. Brooks Koepka of the United States, who made his name on the European Tour before winning multiple majors, won in 2014 and Victor Dubuisson of France, who won in 2013, triumphed for the second time in 2015. When the tournament moved to nearby Carya Golf club in 2016, Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark took the title, while Justin Rose of England won in 2017 and 2018.

Now part of the Rolex series, the importance is emphasized by its place in the calendar. After Turkey there is another event, the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, prior to the DP World Tour Championship, which will determine the final ranking in the race from season to race of Dubai. Last year it was won by Francesco Molinari from Italy.

The Montgomerie Maxx Royal has a par-72, 7,132-yard layout, with undulating fairways within approximately 260 acres of mixed pine forest and sand ridges. The course starts and ends with par 5s and offers the chance of a good start and a grandstand finish when the leadership can change hands in the final holes.

"If they are struggling, then driving will be key," said Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who is in charge of the Race to Dubai. "Some greens are also very corrugated, so precision with iron shots would also may be essential for low scores.

"We last played there four years ago, but I always really enjoyed playing at the Montgomerie and had some good results. The course was always in good condition and really well set up. "

Danny Willett from England said it was a fun course.

"The entire facility is very impressive," he said. "It can be a bit tricky if I remember correctly, but I think a lot will depend on how the course is set up."

Montgomerie said that his favorite hole was the par-4 12th because it had a greater emphasis on accuracy and demanded a strong approach to a difficult, wavy green.

But although the name of Montgomerie is synonymous with accuracy, especially outside the tee, the Montgomerie is Maxx Royal where birds are plentiful and driving distance, rather than the pure ability to hit fairways, it will be the bigger fruits picking.

Every course is only as good as the players competing against it, but the Turkish open field is full of strong players, including Shane Lowry, the British Open champion; Molinari; and Rose.

"We are back at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal this year, and I remember that it is a great job and location, and I am sure it will be a fantastic tournament again," Rose told the website of the Turkish Gulf Federation.

He tries to become the first man in almost two decades to win the same European Tour event three times in a row. But only the presence of players such as Rose in the event is also crucial to its success, said Ahmet Agaoglue, the president of the federation.

"Justin is at the center of the story of the Turkish Airlines Open, and it is an honor to welcome him back to Turkey," he told the federation's website. of the best players in the world and is a great ambassador for the sport. "

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